Why Antihistamines Aren't the Only Way to Stop Allergies

Find out why steroid nasal sprays can also be helpful in stopping those pesky allergy symptoms.

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Allergy season is around the corner and you’ve probably already made a visit to your local pharmacy for your favorite antihistamine. While antihistamines are still a great way to keep allergy symptoms under control, new nasal sprays that use low doses of steroids have also been found to be a helpful ally in the fight against seasonal sniffles. A complement of these approaches can help you to keep your symptoms to a minimum during pollen-filled days.

How do steroid nasal sprays work?

When pollen fills the air during allergy season, your nose is one of the first parts of your body to be hit. That’s because most of your breathing is done through your nose and immune cells will quickly pick up pollen spores and set off an inflammatory response. Steroids in nasal sprays make their way into these immune cells and help to block the triggering of this inflammatory signal. As a result, immune cells don’t react as strongly to pollen in the air and don’t trigger others to react.

What sort of symptoms can nasal steroid sprays help with?

Steroid nasal sprays help mostly with nose symptoms like blockage, running, itching, sneezing and post-nasal drip. Because the steroids don’t enter the bloodstream in high enough levels, they don’t help with symptoms in other parts of the body like the eyes.

How should I use steroid nasal sprays?

Steroid nasal sprays work well for people with symptoms bad enough to send you to the doctor’s office for help. They normally only take a few hours to start working, but because of the way steroids work, they may take several days to weeks of regular use to work best. As a result, most physicians recommend that you start using allergy medications like these before you start to have symptoms a few weeks before your allergies normally kick in. Doing so will block the body’s reaction before it starts and help to dampen whatever reactions do happen.

What should I be careful of when using steroid nasal sprays?

In some people, the nasal spray can be irritating and may cause throat irritation if some of the medication runs down the back of the nose. The act of using the nasal spray can also sometimes cause nosebleeds. Before using a steroid nasal spray, talk to your doctor about the best way to use them and how best to combine them with other allergy medications for maximal effect.